Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Screenplay Diary: "Between Love and Orgasms"... Taking a Turn for the Words

My favorite story (out of many) about the bringing of story to screen is the story of the 2005 Academy Award nominated film Sideways.

The film was an adaptation of the novel of the same name, written by a relative failure by Hollywood standards (author Rex Pickett), ironically about a man who is a failure as novelist. The story also mirrors Pickett’s life as a quasi-alcoholic in search of success in mid-life, after years of failed attempts to break through to mainstream industry acceptance.

Sometimes lost in the story of the making of Sideways is the tucked-away fact that Pickett’s novel was still unpublished at the time it was being turned into the surprise hit of 2004. Director Alexander Payne “discovered” the story, reading the novel in waiting on a flight from Edinburgh to Los Angeles. But for me, the part of the “lost in the story” story that influences me the most is that a finished, but unsold, story served as an industry “calling card” to get the story of Sideways in the hands of the right person to make Rex Pickett’s words make it to the big screen. Which led me to this conclusion...